Tuesday, August 28, 2012

AVENGERS vs X-MEN = Cross-Sections

WARNING:  Reading this will spoil some of your fun/surprise if you pick up these books.

THE AVENGERS #29  (October 2012)  Brian Michael Bendis, writer.  Walter Simonson, pencils.  Scott Hanna, inks.  Jason Keith, colors. VC’s Cory Petit, letters. 

Avengers-29

This book has some great cover art by Mike Deodato & Rain Beeredo, the type that makes you want to pick up the book so you can explore further and find out what happens.  There’s only one drawback - - - events in this issue occur at the same time as those of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #12 and AVENGERS VERSUS X-MEN #8.  So you need to suspend what you already know since A vs. X is now up to Issue #10. 

At the time of this story, the Avengers are still holed up in Wakanda and trying to work up a game plan. Spider-Woman comes up with a valid point – another advantage the X-Men have is that they have telepaths.  She recommends taking out Emma Frost and Rachel Summers first.  What follows the discussion is some very funny jabs at each other between Spider-Woman and Hawkeye (portrayed as a bit of a hound dog here).   Moondragon, the only pure telepath who was ever an Avenger also gets ruled out (mainly through Hawkeye’s objections –more past  snarky-ness.)  But Cap knows some one.

The rest of the issue relates the Avengers’ attempts to entrap Rachel Summers and (as you know if you have been reading the main title) subsequent failure.  As depicted by Walt Simonson, it’s a great romp.  I’m really glad to see him working on a regular basis again - - he’s got such a clean and fluid style, old school but very admirable.  And the telepath that Cap recruited decides he can’t go through with it and puts everyone to sleep/dream, sending a mental command to make both sides forget he was ever there. He concludes by telling Cap “please do not call me again.”  If you’ve guessed who I’m referring to, then you also know that he does get asked for help again.  Guess Cap forgot everything very well, including the last message.  It makes sense to me.

RATING FOR AVENGERS #29 - - - 3 1/2 STARS

NEW-AVENGERS-29-674x1024

THE NEW AVENGERS #29  (October 2012)  Brian Michael Bendis, writer.  Mike Deodato, artist.  Rain Beredo, color art.  VC’s Joe Caramagna, letters & production.

This features more great art from Mike Deodato and a dynamite (but too brief) flashback to a WWII battleground featuring The Invaders. 

The entire rest of this issue is a board of directors meeting - - I kid you not!  But this board is composed of Captain America, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Mister Fantastic, Professor X -  with one notable absence (Namor, for obvious reasons). This board has gathered in a “secret meeting to decide the fate of the world.”  Cap still hopes that Namor will show up and he can bank on their brotherly feelings for each other to get his help to stop the music being made by the Phoenix Five.

If you told me beforehand that this book was only about a meeting where nothing gets resolved then I wouldn’t have bothered to read it.  But, I’m really glad I did.  There is some great scripting here.  I don’t want to repeat any of the dialogue, but scripter Bendis has done it right.  And Mike Deodato’s art perfectly captures rage and other emotions in the close-up expressions of each character.  When it’s done right,  a book about a fruitless board of directors’ meeting can be very entertaining.

Rating for NEW AVENGERS #29 - - - 4 STARS

uncanny xmen 17

UNCANNY X-MEN #17  (October 2012)  Kieron Gillen, writer.  Daniel Acuna & Mike Del Mundo, artists.  Diego Olmos, art assist.  VC’s Joe Caramagna, letterer. 

I’m still disappointed by the change in artist for this book.  Also, I don’t know what Mike Del Mundo did to help out Daniel Acuna on the art, nor what assist was provided by Diego Olmos.  Maybe just to help Acuna meet the deadline, because this doesn’t look that great.  Even though I don’t really like what he’s done since he took over, Acuna’s art when he works alone is better than this collaboration. 

This is the final wrap-up to the Sinister London storyline.  As much as I was excited by the prelude issue to this story arc, it has been diminishing returns since that point.  It’s still a good story but that one issue really created some great expectations that weren’t exactly met.  The sloppy art here makes it a bit confusing.  Some of the story elements get rushed in the finale and not clearly explained.  Of course, we know who’s going to win and who’s going to lose - - and it was a nice touch by Gillen to get the Phoenix Force independently involved in the final outcome.  The rest of the Phoenix Four were basically immobilized, except for Emma who could still try and play mind games with the Madeline clones.  I guess Gillen could have benefited from another issue or two to fully explore this story properly. However, since next issue is a lead-in to the final issues of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN it wasn’t meant to be.  Sorry, but some of the man’s writing credibility also suffers as a result.  My estimation of his skills has been lowered.  I’m only going to pick up the next two issues because I want to see if it backs up my “theory”. 

Rating for UNCANNY X-MEN #17 - - - 3 STARS

comics_avengers_assemble_6

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #6  (October 2012)  Brian Michael Bendis, writer. Mark Bagley, penciler. Danny Miki, inker.  Paul Mounts, colors.  VC’s Clayton Cowles, letterer.

In my spotlight review last month I said that if you only want to read one Avengers book, then AVENGERS ASSEMBLE is a good choice.  It’s also going to end up as one of the shortest-lived monthlies. That makes it a good pick for thrifty-minded readers who don’t want to invest too much time or money.  This book ends with Issue #8 to make way for the huge batch of new MARVEL NOW titles.

That leaves us with this issue plus two more to wrap up the opening storyline of Thanos’ efforts to acquire those items (cubes, gems, rings, etc)  of massive cosmic power.  The Avengers, now teamed up with the Guardians Of The Galaxy, are determined to stop him.  I trust Bendis to wrap this up in the appropriate way.  However,  his inclusion of constant joking remarks every few panels is a bit too much of a good thing.  It stops being amusing and becomes annoying.  I realize that individuals will make jokes in times of dire peril in order to stay calm and focused, but this is over the top.

This issue centers around a massive battle in space with the Avengers and Guardians in a huge skirmish with the Badoon (now serving as Thanos’ front lines).  All you need to know is that this battle is the reason you should pick up this book - - to see what the art team does!  Bagley has never been better. Wow!

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